Feminism. Thinking of that word, the first thing that comes to most peoples mind is “anti-men.” Most people believe that the term feminism or feminist is a movement made to tear down men and the patriarchy that has been embedded in our culture for a long time. Feminism is the advancement of women’s rights and equality of the sexes. “Feminism is a global phenomenon which is now becoming popular all over the world, resulting in gender equality in terms of economic social and political areas. In the USA the word “feminist” got popularity in 1910, but there existed no precise definition of the term feminist even among those who label themselves as a supporter of feminism” (Swirsky, J. M., & Angelone, D. J. (2016)). Men hating seems to bi-product from people who don’t understand or refuse to understand what the feminist movement is about. “Feminism is not against men. Feminism is, rather, against patriarchy. This is a form of social organization that functions based on a gender hierarchy that places males as the authority. It can also be understood as a sort of social bias that allows for the permeation of “inherent” gender differences between men and women.” (Feminism is Not Against Men(2014)) Oppression is not a new idea to the world; this occurs with every ethnic and minority group that has ever migrated to this country. Is it because there is less of a stigma towards the movement, or is there more need for a change?
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When this movement started back in 1848, women were concern about the limited availability of education, lack of a voice in any political situation, the right to vote, and the role they are to play in a family situation. (The Women’s Rights Movement, 1848-1920(2019)). From the start of this country, the man always had the power in society. The patriarchy has ruled for a long time, suppressing women in the process. This type of society was the norm for a long time and having women rise and demand something different. “The thing feminism thinks is bad is the hundreds of years of sexism part, as well as the existence of sexism today. Sexism is the problem — sexism that a lot of men engage in and a lot of women internalize.” (5 Reasons Why So Many People Believe Feminism Hates Men and Why They are Not True(2019)) While this movement initially started as a broader range of just women’s suffering, it morphed into the right to vote. Which at the time was a massive step in the right direction. This movement, which brought such substantial change to society needs to inspire more change, not add strife.
“Women had to face a lot of problems, issues, and obstacles to become a useful member of society. If we review the history we come to know that female was denied of all types of rights, she was left alone, ignored and mistreated by men. “(Swirsky, J. M., & Angelone, D. J. (2016)). Just like any idea that is different from the normality that people are so accustomed to, people are also reluctant to change. This type of idea, this patriarchy had been around, and people are constantly asking why to change it. The simplest answer is that it no longer works. Society has changed, but the idea of this society is stuck years behind. There is a right and wrong way to inspire this type of change. What is usually brought to the forefront, just like in any issue, are the negatives. The uneducated on the topic seem to believe that when you give something to the one, you have to take it away from the other. That is not how equal rights work. “The stigma attached to feminism characterizing its participants as irrationally angry or out-of-control is part of the strategy behind associating with humanism instead of feminism.” What Is Feminism? (2017, March 1). There are many women who would like to distance themselves from this type of thinking. Not calling themselves feminist and not having the label is how they can separate themselves from the negative. There is a strategy deloped to confuse what feminism is genuine versus what people are told. And it clearly distracts from the point of the movement.
When growing up, men are taught to act in a certain way. Sayings like “the man of the house,” the “breadwinner,” all set a certain standard to what a man should be. In today’s society, this isn’t the case anymore. Women are no longer the weak and fragile counterpart to men. There are still issues such as the glass ceiling, where women in the same position as men are making less money. “Despite major gains over the last century, gender inequality is still widespread, suggesting that the goals fostered by feminisms remain. For example, women earn about 18% less than men and are less likely to be employed in higher-paying fields such as computer science and engineering.” (Swirsky, J. M., & Angelone, D. J. (2016)). What the feminist movement is asking us not to reinvent the wheel, but to reconsider how men treat women. How is it that there is still this thought process that women are weak and fragile that have to have men take care of them. Blaming men isn’t how feminism works either; this movement doesn’t blame the individual for the hundreds of years of oppression, just the idea of it.
The flip side of the feminist argument is that there is some feminist who refuses to address the issues men are having. Gender equality means equal rights for all genders, not just the ones that people feel are oppressed. There can’t be a pick and choose an aspect if one gender has that right then all should. “Like why young men today are less likely to graduate from college, attain a high GPA, be active in extracurricular organizations or seek leadership roles; or why men, in general, have always been more likely to be caught up in the criminal justice system or be homeless. These are real issues, surely, and things our society should work to correct.” (5 Reasons Why So Many People Believe Feminism Hates Men and Why They are Not True(2019)) While the women’s right has been a hot topic in recent years, there are still many things to fix. Our society is not perfect. The issue that follows this is that many feminist believe then in a dominant male culture, where men’s problems are the default, focusing on those would take away from work trying to be done to bring women to a slightly more even playing field. Social change is incredibly slow; usually, the people in power are the ones writing the rules or completely ignore the issues at hand.
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A complete societal reform is what is needed. Though no one is expecting it. There are those who ask if there is a need for such a movement. In current times when women’s rights have been brought forward into the limelight, when laws are made specifically to hinder the women’s right to free choice of their own body, is when momentum is gained. “Feminism may be more relevant to those with an acute awareness of patriarchy in everyday life, thus empowering them to take a stand. However, this relationship is bidirectional; it has been noted that women with a strong feminist identity may be more likely to notice and respond to sexism compared to women with a weaker feminist identity.” (Swirsky, J. M., & Angelone, D. J. (2016)). Women are strong by nature, but it has only been recently that the strength been brought into the light how children are raised, empowering them to make their own choices instead of conforming to the normality where women are put into a small box. Women can shoot a gun, stand in a position of power in the Capital, fight against mental health stigmas, fight in the military, all of these things. But even though women are strong and will continue to be healthy and prosperous, it is the current society that is hindering the movement forward.
There is a miscommunication between the people who identify as feminist, the men who are against the term feminist and those that give feminism such a bad reputation. Not everything is equal, and it is impossible to tell if equal rights will ever indeed be equal. There is a change that needs to happen. Somewhere down the road, people became confused; equality is not a pie, the one-piece isn’t taken away to give to the other; it is just given. There will always be radicals that will make any idea to the absolute extreme and ruin everything. The easy answer is to fight less and start lifting society as a whole. The easy solution doesn’t necessarily mean the path of least resistance; there is a long road ahead of today’s culture and community to make equality a real vision.
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